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The Roundup for August 29th, 2014

By: Friday August 29, 2014 2:18 pm

And so the month of August ends along with the end of summer for me. Still, a weekend featuring some improv should be helpful. Don’t forget the Book Salons on Saturday and Sunday folks. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

International Politics


- We know the U.S. sanctioned Russian financial institutions for Russia’s action in Ukraine. However, it seems one Russian company was not targeted. It might be because they hold American advisers; Comical

- Roger Waters: “Why moral perversity of U.S. position in Gaza is stunning

- What country is benefiting the most from the oil obtained by the Islamic State?  Turkey.

Middle East

- The Iraqi government is dropping needed supplies to some civilians and attempting to rescue others from IS forces

- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas: Hamas fought with Israel for unnecessary reasons and it extended the conflict

Asia and Oceania

- Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stated the army was never called as a mediator over turmoil


- In Libya, the interim government announced it will dissolve in order to make a new government


- Russian President Vladimir Putin: We did not invade Ukraine and our interest lies with the Arctic; NATO, however, disagreed and said Russia was involved in “illegal military actions

- Sweden announced it raised its military alert status as a result of the situation in Ukraine

- Britain also raised its terror threat although this was due to what was happening in Iraq an Syria

- A German official warned the situation in Ukraine was “slipping out of control

- Despite FIFA head Sepp Blatter calling for fewer stadiums for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Putin rejected such recommendations

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

- The Ecuadorean government announced it will turn to a digital currency although they said it would not be like other crypto-currencies

Surveillance Planet

- It seems Google blocked Disconnect, software to prevent malicious malware from affecting users, on its app store for mobile users because it violated a rule

- Emptywheel: “Missing from the EO 12333 Discussion: Its Classified Annex Michael Hayden Revised on March 11, 2004

Financial Matters

- Good news as it seems certain sectors in Israel are being affected by the BDS movement

- David Sirota: “Microsoft’s Staggering Tax Dodge Alone Would Fund the Entire State of Washington for Two Years

- It can be argued there is some good with the Affordable Care Act as executives of major health care companies received less in their executive compensation after the passage of the law

- Looks like bad news for the Rousseff government in Brazil as new economic data showed Brazil entered in a recession in first half of the year

- In the first half of the year, the GDP for the U.S. grew at 1.1 percent. That is not good news although the mainstream narrative believes it is.

- Financial telecommunication companies call for the FCC to block public-owned telecom systems found in some cities to be expanded

Labor’s a-Brewing

- Gallup: Full-time workers, on average, work 47 hours in a week with 42 percent of workers stating they work the “40-hour” workweek.

- A tragic story out of Newark, N.J., where a woman who worked four jobs died while trying to nap between shifts in her car

- Farm workers in New Mexico, despite some progress made on their salaries, still face discrimination and neglect by owners and employers

Politics US

Washington USA

- Jason Leopold: “A Detainee Claims There’s a New Crackdown on Prisoners at Guantanamo

- Some disturbing quotes from those in attendance of a heavily Koch sponsored event back in June

- The Pentagon announced it spends around $7.5 million a day for operations in Iraq

- In response to Britain raising its terror threat, the White House announced it would make no changes. However, the New York Police Department will closely follow the situation; Ridiculous a local police department would be worried over something miles away

Anytown USA

- Professor Adolph Reed, Jr. talks about lessons from Ferguson, Mo., considering it is likely more resistance with follow in other cities due to the deteriorating state of the U.S.

- In what is definitely a case of discrimination, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, a Republican, called a Hispanic student undocumented while addressing a group of students. The issue was the student in question is a U.S. citizen and called him out for his comment.

- In spite of the slow recovery of New Orleans, La., the city is facing a growth of income inequality among residents

We Don’t Need No Education

- In what is indicative of for-profit colleges, Corinthians College was cited by the Department of Justice as a misleading organization for students

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- With temperatures rising as a result of climate change, it brings the threat of viruses through vectors like mosquitoes

- Bad news as a judge in Hawaii ruled the state’s regulations on pesticide use was wrong and sided with the large companies promoting GMOs

- 22 companies submitted their bids to sell marijuana in Uruguay as the country prepares to implement its plan

The Second Sex

- Dave Zirin: “Yes I ‘Question The NFL’s Commitment’ To Being A Force Against Domestic Violence

- In California, lawmakers passed a bill to prevent sexual assault by stating sexual relations are fine if parties involve consent to it

Planet Earth

- There can be a bridge between environmentalists and workers when it comes to climate change for the way forward

- In Pennsylvania, there have been 243 cases where fracking led to the contamination of drinking water

- In what is indicative of the state of democracy today, government seeks out fossil fuels despite civilians preferring alternative energy

- It is important for American environmentalists to know what the right-wing reactionary government in Canada is doing on environmental issues

- It looks like Charles Koch created a front group to protect the oil industry and bash environmentalists at every turn

Mixed Bag

- Fareed Zakaria, an infamous plagiarist, also is arrogant in his approach to issues. Although, he isn’t really smart when it comes to talking about major issues.

- The Department of Agriculture was able to stop giant African snails (ew) from invading certain environments

Break Time

- Fake Drugs [Hollerado]

Senator Mary Landrieu Under Scrutiny For Residency Claims

By: Friday August 29, 2014 10:11 am
Mary Landrieu Senate portrait.jpg

Senator Mary Landrieu

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu has generally been considered the more well behaved senator from the state given her counterpart is David Vitter. But now questions are being raised about Landrieu’s residency claims as to whether she actually lives in the state of Louisiana – a requirement to represent the state in the US Senate under Louisiana law.

According to records reviewed by the Washington Post, Landrieu really lives in DC in a $2.5 million home she and her husband built. In fact, Landrieu listed the DC home as her address when filing her candidacy for reelection with the Federal Election Commission despite listing her parent’s home in Louisiana as her residence with LA state authorities.

Neighbors told WaPo they believe Senator Landrieu lives in DC and have not seen her at the residence though they said they did see her parents and brother Mitch Landrieu who also serves as the mayor of New Orleans.

On a statement of candidacy Landrieu filed with the Federal Election Commission in January, she listed her Capitol Hill home as her address. But when qualifying for the ballot in Louisiana last week, she listed the family’s raised-basement home here on South Prieur Street…

For Landrieu, there are hazardous parallels to other recent cases in which residency questions have dogged incumbents. Former senator Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) lost reelection in 2012 after reports that he stayed in hotels when he returned to Indiana, while Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) is drawing flack this year for not having a home of his own in Kansas and listing a donor’s house as his voting address.

While fundraising and other obligations keep members of Congress in DC a good part of the year, many states require that the representatives live in the state or district they are supposed to be representing.

The residency question in Louisiana is handled by a state prosecutor or a court case from an interested party. Some of Landrieu’s opponents are reportedly considering just such a challenge. Senator Landrieu has said, through an attorney, that she is in compliance with the law.

Photo from US Senate under public domain.

Ukraine Seeks NATO Membership As Putin Addresses Separatists As ‘New Russia’

By: Friday August 29, 2014 7:51 am

In a desperate and potentially catastrophic move, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk has asked the parliament in Kiev to assist in gaining Ukraine membership in NATO.  If Ukraine successfully petitions to become a member of NATO then Ukraine could be ground zero for a nuclear war between Russian and NATO forces. Under the rules of NATO, any attack – real or perceived as real – on a member must be responded to by all members.

Before Ukraine can formally seek membership it must reverse its currently codified status as non-bloc which was put in the Ukrainian Constitution by couped out former President Viktor Yanukovich in 2008. Not only does being a member of NATO risk nuclear war it also drops any pretense of not being alligned with the European Union and United States – something Russia has made increasingly clear it will not accept.

“The government is entering a bill to Verkhovna Rada [parliament] about the cancellation of Ukraine’s non-bloc status and resumption of Ukraine’s course for Nato membership,” Mr Yatsenyuk said.

Ukraine’s previous President Viktor Yanukovich, ousted earlier this year, enshrined the country’s non-aligned status in the constitution in 2008. At a government meeting, Mr Yatsenyuk said Ukraine’s main aim remained membership of the European Union.

The provocation comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin called separatist fighters in East Ukraine the “army of Novorossia.” Novorossia, or New Russia, is a reference to the old Russian Empire and aligns with terminology used in declarations made by the separatists. Analysts have argued that one of Putin’s chief aims is to rebuild the Russian Empire which, notably, included Ukraine.

The question that remains, and one that is of great consequence, is whether or not NATO will accept Ukraine as a member. If they do and follow their own rules the head to head military exchange between the US and Russia that was successfully avoided during the Cold War could take place. Managing to keep a ground war between Russia and the US – which NATO membership would likely lead to – limited to conventional weapons may prove impossible.

Photo by Jarekt under Creative Commons license.

Obama Says He ‘Doesn’t Have A Strategy Yet’ On Dealing With ISIS In Syria

By: Friday August 29, 2014 5:15 am

In a press conference yesterday President Barack Obama admitted that he did not have a strategy to deal with ISIS in Syria at the moment. This admission comes after Obama has ordered airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq while sending in military advisors to help the Iraqi military. The disclosure of a lack of strategy was [...]

The Roundup for August 28th, 2014

By: Thursday August 28, 2014 2:04 pm

We’re close to the end of the week. How are you? International Politics Overall – Amy Goodman: “The Guns of August“; On the importance of World War I for today – The legacy of Iraq War will be considered good for certain private actors in the future – Pew: 39 percent of Americans believe the [...]

Under Chris Christie Fees To Wall Street Have Tripled

By: Thursday August 28, 2014 9:25 am

According to a report by David Sirota for the International Business Times, fees paid out to Wall Street by the State of New Jersey have tripled under the administration of Governor Chris Christie, costing the taxpayers $3.8 billion. Governor Christie was already under scrutiny for the way he managed the pension system when it was [...]

Obama’s Open-Ended War On ISIS Brings Neoconservatives Back To Stage

By: Thursday August 28, 2014 8:15 am

President Obama’s new war on ISIS is bringing back some old names and faces from the George W. Bush years, especially as the war appears to be expanding into Syria. Though the neoconservative vision failed miserably in Iraq after the 2003 invasion they have not given up hope in the power and glory of US [...]

Ukraine Official Claims Russian Forces Now Fighting In East Ukraine

By: Thursday August 28, 2014 5:35 am

Ukraine Says Russian Forces Lead Major New Offensive, via @nytimes — Geoffrey Pyatt (@GeoffPyatt) August 27, 2014 Mykhailo Lysenko, the deputy commander of the Ukrainian Donbas battalion, has claimed that Russian tanks and armored personal carriers have been fighting alongside separatist forces in East Ukraine calling it a “full scale invasion.” The claim comes [...]

The Roundup for August 27th, 2014

By: Wednesday August 27, 2014 2:00 pm

It’s Wednesday folks and summer is close to ending. International Politics Overall – Journalist Patrick Cockburn talks to The Real News about the Islamic State and what the U.S. faces in Syria – UN investigators say IS and Syria committed war crimes against civilians – U.S. officials confirmed an American died fighting on behalf of IS Middle East [...]

Savage Capitalism Returns As Recovery Misses Working Class

By: Wednesday August 27, 2014 11:13 am

Though Thomas Piketty’s book Capital In The 21st Century has proved popular among establishment intellectuals, the research in the book validates one of the most common radical critiques of capitalism  – that when unrestrained by governments or social movements capitalism is a reckless and malevolent enterprise. And so after 30 years of Neoliberalism savage capitalism [...]

NATO Moving Forces East To Russia’s Borders In Response To Ukraine Crisis

By: Wednesday August 27, 2014 7:59 am

In response to the crisis in Ukraine – partly caused by US/EU actions – NATO will be moving forces east to countries bordering Russia in a move sure to upset Moscow. NATO officials also said they would be helping boost the capability of the Ukrainian military to fight separatists in East Ukraine making the proxy [...]

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